| November/December 1978

  • Danielson family
    Pictured is the Danielson family at the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Old Threshers Reunion in 1957.
  • Threshing scene
    This threshing scene featuring the J. J. Danielson rig was taken west of Macomb, Illinois in 1938.

  • Danielson family
  • Threshing scene

221 10th Street, Burlington, Iowa 52601

Here is an account of my threshing career of 18 years, although my father was in the business for 40 years. His name was J. J. Danielson of Macomb, Illinois, where he lived most of his life.

I started threshing when I was 16 years of age. That was in 1918 when World War I was on. It was hard for dad to get help, so dad put me to hauling water for the steam engine. I hauled water for two years, then dad put me to running the engine. I ran the steam engine for 8 years, then dad went to tractors as steam was on its way out, much to our regret.

We had what was called the Rumely Oil Pull. It was a two cylinder type, rated 20 horsepower on the draw bar and 40 on the belt. After the second year dad asked me if I thought I could run the engine. I told him I thought I could, boy that was what I wanted! I had watched my uncle Bob, so I thought I could. I told dad I was willing to give it a try.

Dad had two rigs running that year so I had to run back and forth to get anything they might need. I remember one place we pulled into, the man was hard run, so he thought to save money he bought some cheap coal. Well, what happened was it melted and ran through the grates, and shut off the air. Mind you this was my first year on the engine. Well, my steam began to drop, and of course, the water was dropping too. I got my poker out and crawled underneath to work on the fire. All the time I had my injector on, as it wouldn't work under 80 lbs. pressure. All the time we were still running, Jack McSpirit was my separator man, and I knew the way he kept looking my way he knew what was wrong, as he could tell by the speed the machine was running. There I was sweating,, and maybe saying a few words about that poor coal. The water dropped down until I could just see it in the glass. The steam gauge said 90 lbs. when it should have said 175 lbs. But, I kept at it. I was getting ready to whistle down when the steam began to rise boy was I relieved! I fought that coal for an hour and a half. And, did I get a lecture when dad came that evening. 'Ernie,' he said, 'when in trouble like that whistle down.' I told him I didn't want to hold up things.

At that time we had a 22 horse Advance Rumely on a 36-60 separator. This was also a Rumely. In a good days' run we would thresh around 3,000 to 3,500 bushels of wheat. On oats we would get 5,000 to 6,000 bushels.


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